For certain individuals, going to the dentist can be a terrifying experience. In fact, some people actually postpone their visits or don’t go to the dentist at all because it causes so much fear and anxiety. Not going to the dentist is definitely not the answer, since the longer you delay treatment for dental problems, the worse they’ll become. Fortunately, there is a solution for people with a fear of the dentist’s chair – dental sedation. There are several different forms available. Choosing the one that’s right for you will depend, to a large extent, on exactly how fearful you are.


Just as the name implies, conscious sedation allows the patient to be fully conscious and aware of what’s happening during dental procedures, but still very much relaxed and at ease. This form of sedation is helpful not only for people who fear dental procedures but also for people who have to sit through a long procedure. Conscious sedation can be administered in a variety of ways:

  •  Orally (by taking a pill)
  •  Intravenously
  •  Injection
  •  Inhaling a gas

Patients who choose any form of conscious sedation will need a ride home after the procedure. If they choose to take sedation orally (by pill) before their appointment, they’ll need to have someone drive them to the dentist’s office as well.


Also referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is a great solution for people who experience a mild amount of anxiety about visiting the dentist. When combined with oxygen and inhaled by the patient through a mask, nitrous oxide makes the patient relaxed and just a little happier than usual – hence the name “laughing gas.”
The effects of nitrous oxide are relatively mild compared to other forms of sedation, and it wears off quickly. Patients who choose nitrous oxide should be able to drive themselves home after their appointment.


This most powerful form of sedation is recommended for people who experience extreme anxiety and fear of going to the dentist. It’s also necessary for any patient having oral surgery and may be recommended for those undergoing very long, complicated procedures. A licensed anesthesiologist administers this form of sedation. Because the patient will receive the sedation at the dental office, he or she will be able to drive to the appointment but will need a ride home afterward.

Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. Thanks to the variety of dental sedation methods available to patients, even the most fearful person can feel at ease during a dental procedure.

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